[Cloud USA] Road Trip for Rain: On the hunt for KPop and Jung JiHoon, Part 2.

Written by: Stephe Thornton, Managing Editor ^@@^

PART 2: We are here. We are here. We are here! Saturday, October 22.

By the skin of our teeth. 1) Concentrate on the lane ahead of you. No sight-seeing unless you want trouble. 2) Keep the pedal to the metal—keep up with the flow of traffic and do NOT slow down (to hell with a speed limit). 3) Unless you know you have an exit coming, stay squarely in the middle of the highway, no matter what the signs say, and floor it. 4) Don’t forget to breathe.

One great thing about living in Atlanta—it prepares you well for leaving Jersey and driving into New York.

We did manage to catch our collective breath on I-78 during a brief pause to pay toll before heading into the Lincoln Tunnel. And then we shot into that sucker like bats out of hell, Terri practically flying the Cloudmobile like a fighter pilot, me holding on for dear life with my fingernails dug into the upholstery. (I was just praying to see daylight again. I am extremely claustrophobic. Damn tunnel. *screammmmmm*) Once we emerged into the bright Manhattan afternoon, however, we had all the time in the world to breathe, seeing as all traffic slammed to a standstill and stayed there. LOL!

We definitely weren’t in “Kansas” anymore. Terri’s been to NYC before, so she was used to the scenery. Me? I was simply agog. To a person who’d only seen New York City secondhand (on TV, on the news, on the Big Screen, being destroyed by monsters, asteroids, and Acts of God), it was like being in a movie. Or on a set.

If I hadn’t known ahead of time where I was going, when I opened my eyes, there would have been no mistaking where I was. “Concrete jungle” is right on. The Big Apple truly is a place unlike any other.

Digging the scene without a gangsta lean (’cause you gotta walk everywhere). The Hotel Chandler on East 31st was a welcome sight after 15 hours in a car, and the kind folks there took excellent care of us with very few hiccups. (Hi, Sebastian! Tell the rest of your crew hello!) And so we said bye-bye to the Cloudmobile as they put it in Valet for us (let’s face it, us “fer-in-ners” trying to drive around and PARK in Manhattan for a few days would be utter madness), crashed into our suite and took a load off. Whew. Made it!

We couldn’t lie on our butts for long, though—there was too much to do, especially after finding out on the way that Terri had to cover the SMTown Live press conference for HelloKpop. After unpacking, we put on our walking shoes and hit the road for some sight-seeing and to get our bearings for Sunday.

Koreatown was awfully cool. It literally was a “town”, with Korean businesses stretching from one end of Korea Way to the other. It was there that we chose a Korean barbecue restaurant to meet our Cloud USA peeps at on Sunday—Mukeunji (묵은기)—and where we had our first run-in with K-Pop, K-Drama, and K-Stuff at Koryo Books.

Who was there to greet us the second we walked into Koryo Books? Why, Kim HyunJoong, of course, seeing as a Face Shop shared the same space as the bookstore.

And this is where we found us some Rain, in the form of SangDoo! Let’s Go To School! on DVD.

Koryo has so much in stock, there was no way to either see it all or check every shelf for Rain. Not to mention there were KPop fans everywhere in there, killing time before the SMTown concert the next day. So, you NY and Jersey Clouds who haven’t yet come across Koryo, make some buzz for Rain there. Go grab his stuff, and if it isn’t in stock, have them order it for you. Make some noise and get him noticed.

(Some serious Soshified fans! 😀 )

A Stephe WTH moment: When you see a Subway sign in metro Atlanta, that means you can go in there and fill up on some tasty grub. When you see a Subway sign in NYC like that, arrows pointing and all, ain’t no sandwiches. Just trains to ride. You can get anywhere you need to go, all right, but you might starve to death in the process. GAH!

McDonald’s with a Bang. We wandered quite a bit, rode the subways (tunnels! Jesus…! GAH!), saw street performers, vendors, residents, tourists, some Times Square, so many amazing things, as night came on. So cool. I got so cold and tired though that I pooped out when we got to one of the most famous McDonald’s restaurants in the world, on Broadway, and grabbed myself some food and a seat on the third floor there while Terri went on to popular restaurant Chez Josephine, a hot spot for the theater crowd. (She had a message for the owner Jean-Claude Baker, Josephine Baker’s son, from a friend of his here in Atlanta, and had promised to hand deliver it to him.)

As it turned out, that would be our second run-in with K-Stuff of that day, because as I was sipping my hot chocolate and watching the tremendous hustle-and-bustle of humanity in the restaurant and walking the streets outside… Big Bang showed up. Rather, their music video did! In McDonald’s. Right on the brick wall opposite me. Larger than life. Seeing as I was sitting in the opposite balcony, the same Big Bang “Lollipop” music video was playing on the brick wall right by my head too. HUGE.

(This was taken on the second floor of the McDonald’s. I was on the third, in the balcony. When I was there, the place was packed. My son called from Atlanta to check on us and I couldn’t hear a word he said! Video courtesy of tekunoloji.)

(So you can see the whole MV, if you haven’t already… Video courtesy of JKMotion.)

Yes, I spazzed out. *Taeyyyyyy* *Geeee-Deeeee* *Daaaaae* *Topppppp* *Seung—* *head hits table* @_____@ A nice security officer asked me if I was okay. I mumbled something unintelligible and nodded. He looked like he wanted to check my pulse, but thought the better of it and politely went on his way.

Well, after all the awesomeness of finding Big Bang at Mickey D’s, I was pretty much done. Finding Rain at Koryo Books had me pretty happy too. When Terri returned from Chez Jos, we made it on back to our digs (with a couple of detours and couple of Starbucks coffees on the way).

And we slept as hard as rocks. Probably harder.

(I’m writing PART 3 as we speak… so see you soon!)

— Stephe @cloudusa.wordpress.com / CloudUSA.org 

(Terri and Jean-Claude Baker, owner of Chez Josephine, the restaurant inspired by his mom, the legendary Josephine Baker.)

~ by Cloud USA on November 19, 2011.

13 Responses to “[Cloud USA] Road Trip for Rain: On the hunt for KPop and Jung JiHoon, Part 2.”

  1. […]  [Image via] […]


  2. You know I just watched this “Lollipop” song. I’m so tickled. Seeing these K-Pop boys talking about “drop it low…move it slow” “get it popin”……REALLY?! They sound Serious huh?

    Oh, don’t mind me…..I just picture all kinds of scenarios in my head and every last one of them tickles the “ish” out of me. HA!


  3. I almost thought it was Elton John for a minute (*double take*). You know, this restaurant was on a couple episodes of “Real Housewives of New York”. Yeah, I can’t bare to watch those shows that much anymore, but every now and then I get “sucked” in to watching an episode or two. I have just one word for all the “Housewives” shows……Therapy….seriously! (SMILES)


  4. Thank you! I really love reading your road trip. Can’t wait for part 3.
    P.S Terri, I just love you smile, girl!


    • LOL,

      Glad you enjoyed. We really had a lot of fun.

      FYI, I was grinning so widely because the maitre d who was taking the picture was trying to make us both laugh. Very silly.

      Terri :-}


  5. @ Stephe. If you got catatonic seeing big bang on a big screen in NY. I can’t imagine what would had happened if it was Rain instead. LOL. I love reading your accounts is like in there with u guys. Can’t wait for part 3.


    • Gurl, you know I would have been carted out on a stretcher and “Life-flighted” back to Atlanta in some helicopter. There would have been NO coming back from that! LOL! 😉 (ohhhhh, how I wish, tho!)

      Stephe ^@@^


  6. @Terri
    u look gorgeous LOVE IT and thank u share us this excited TRIP with us cloudUSA HUG!


    • Ah, Kongsao,

      Thank you, dear. Very kind of you, but I think I just look really sleepy. And the night was still not over for me even after that. LOL.

      It was a little hectic, but lots of fun.

      Terri :-}


  7. awawaw this is very excited i love every thing u share i can’t wait to hear part 3 oh u lady very have such good stuff and fun thing to see and meet ekekek happy for u i might even more excited and screaming ahahahah thank share us …


  8. so excited, can’t wait for the next installment, hee, hee…


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